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Casinos in Prague

Published on: 29/10/2013

Ever since it split from Czechoslovakia in 1993, the city of Prague has been growing in cultural significance and economic stature. The capital of the Czech Republic, its 1.3 million population makes it the fourteenth biggest city in the European Union. The history of this vibrant and diverse city is an extremely interesting one. Many would say that for nearly twelve centuries it has stood in place as an economic, political, and cultural hub of central Europe – after all, it was once the seat of the Roman Empire itself. More contemporary attributes of the city are its inclusion into the UNESCO catalogue of world heritage sites. Every year thousands of tourists flock to the great city, with plans to visit such landmarks as the Charles Bridge, the Prague Castle, the Petřín Hill, the Jewish Quarter, the Old Town Square and the Lennon Wall.

Prague has an impressive number of gaming venues: 33 – surprising for such a relatively small city. This is a testament to the importance of gambling in the population. There are two companies which have majority control and regulatory power over these gaming venues: Merkur Casinos operates seven of the sites. This company was founded in 1957 by Paul Gauselmann, and is a subdivision of the Gauselmann Group. This group was initially set up to refurbish and renovate defective American Jukeboxes. Such was the success of this enterprise that by the mid 1970’s this family company had decided to construct its own line of slot machines. The greatest showcase of this company’s successes is the Merkur Casino, a huge, sprawling 10,000 square foot arena, packed with a vast assortment of gaming machines.

The only other institution that can compete on such a scale as the Merkur Casinos are the consortium of companies owned by the Novamatic Group. Fitting under the Casino Admiral brand, eight divisions compete with Merkur for most of Prague’s gaming industry. Vying directly with the Merkur Casino, the flagship arena of this group is the Casino Admiral Bohemia. This venue benefits from an impressive location, situated as it is within Prague’s Congress Centre. It is decorated and decked out to perfection, having all the popular games on offer, such as Blackjack, Caribbean Stud Poker, American Roulette, Caribbean Stud Poker, Gold Strike, Poker, Pontoon and Let it Ride. There are shows to see too, along with a bar, and the restaurant Casiana.

Typically of cities, most of Prague’s major casinos are located either within hotels, or directly affiliated with them, and situated nearby. The Prague Marriott Hotel for example houses the 7000 square foot casino called The Viva! This major casino is one of the largest throughout Prague, and is open seven days a week, between the hours of 3pm and 5am.

Another grand gaming venue is the Casino Atrium Hilton, which opens its doors from 2pm till 6am, its late morning closure perhaps intended to entice a few hardened gamers who have just left the Viva! A little smaller than its rival, its 3200 square feet of gaming space is still not to be sniffed at, giving it ample room for more than 20 games machines, 17 tables, and also a popular restaurant.

For those not wishing for roulette, and just wanting to play cards, Prague certainly has much to offer. There are dedicated venues such as Card Casino Prague, and the Concord Card Casino. The Concord has a high reputation, leading to it hosting, in 2012, the European Masters of Poker tournament. Prague may not be up there with Las Vegas or Macau, but for any lover of casinos and gambling, it is certainly a place that must be visited.

Published on: 29/10/2013 © Bet Bind
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